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Pima County shares its requirements to lift mask mandate after Ducey signs bill that allows businesses to ignore local mask rules

TUCSON (KVOA) - Amid a back-and-forth struggle between Arizona and Pima County over mask mandates, Pima County Health Department released its criteria for when it plans to lift its mask mandate Tuesday afternoon.

Back in May, Ducey enacted his "Stay Healthy, Return Smarter, Return Stronger" that slowly allowed businesses to reopen that were previously restricted under the initial state's Stay-At-Home Order.

A few weeks after the governor began lifting COVID-19 mitigation measures such as not requiring an occupancy limit at businesses, Ducey took the next step in those efforts March 25 through a new executive order that included a section that phased out all mask mandates implemented by local governments, including the ones put in place by both the City of Tucson and Pima County in June.

In opposition to the order, Pima County decided to continue to enforce its mask mandatesuspending or revoking a business's permit if they decide to not comply with the local mandate. For businesses in the county that are not required to have a permit, they would receive a $500 citation after three strikes of not complying with the mask mandate.

However on Friday, Ducey signed  House Bill 2770 into law, which allows businesses in Arizona to not be required to enforce any mask mandates, whether established by the state, a city, town, county or any other jurisdiction in the Grand Canyon State when it officially goes into effect three months after the 2021 legislative session ends.

Soon after, Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry released a statement saying in part, until the new legislation goes into effect, "the county's mandate remains in effect."

On Tuesday, the county's health department shared what it would require for the department to lift the local mask mandate.

Those requirements include COVID-19 cases dropping below 10 cases per 100,000 for two consecutive weeks and a vaccination rate of more than 75 percent for Pima County's overall population.

According to Arizona Department of Health Services, about 35 percent of residents in Pima County have been vaccinated.

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Anthony Victor Reyes

Anthony Victor Reyes is the lead digital content producer at News 4 Tucson. The award-winning journalist previously worked as a community reporter in Jasper County, Iowa.

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